Chelsea confirm signing of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli

Chelsea have completed the €40m signing of Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, with the Senegal centre-back penning a four-year deal contract at Stamford Bridge.

The 31-year-old becomes the first of a number of defensive reinforcements anticipated at Chelsea following the recent departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at the end of their respective contracts.

Although he had always been an option, the London club turned to the Napoli stalwart after priority target Matthijs de Ligt drifted out of their reach. Ironically, Juventus had wanted Koulibaly to replace Bayern Munich-bound De Ligt, but the notoriously tough negotiating Partonopei were unwilling to do business with their Serie A rivals.

That gave Chelsea the advantage, and the Blues have moved quickly to wrap up a €40m (£34m) deal for the defender, who has signed a contract that will run until 2026.

Having passed a medical in London, Koulibaly was flown out to Los Vegas to join his new teammates on their pre-season tour and was unveiled as a Chelsea player on Saturday.

“I’m very happy to be here with this team at Chelsea,” Koulibaly told Chelsea’s website. “It’s a big team in the world and my dream was always to play in the Premier League. Chelsea came first to get me in 2016 but we didn’t make it. Now when they came to me I accepted it because they really wanted me to come to the Premier League to play for them.

“When I spoke to my good friends Edou [Edouard Mendy] and Jorginho they made my choice easier so I’m really happy to be with you today.‘I want to thank the fans because I saw a lot of them in London and on the plane everybody was happy for me to be here. So I want to thank them and I hope the season will be really good and we will give some good moments to the fans.”

Chairman Todd Boehly added: “Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the world’s elite defenders and we are delighted to be welcoming him to Chelsea. A great leader and an exemplary team player, Kalidou brings a wealth of experience and attributes that will benefit our squad and the club as a whole.”

Koulibaly had entered the final year of his contract in Naples having joined the club way back in 2014. The Senegal international has been linked with a move away on multiple occasions in the past, and it seems he has finally decided the time is right.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel is keen to add a further two new centre-backs to his squad this summer, with captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s future also uncertain. However, a move for Nathan Ake is off the cards as it stands as the two clubs were unable to agree on the structure of a £45m deal.

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